Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ramp Up, Smarten Up

It's always nice to read some good news for a change; as I did when I opened today's Metro (one of Toronto's free dailies) and read of a campaign to increase the number of accessible ramps in buildings, not just in Toronto but across the province.

The Ramp Up 2016 campaign launching Thursday is a new collaboration between the StopGap Foundation and 24 local visual artists. Its main objective is to bring more accessibility to an additional 15 communities throughout the province.
“We continue to raise awareness about barriers in our communities that prevent so many of us from entering spaces we desire,” said the charity’s founder and accessibility advocate Luke Anderson.
The artists volunteered their time to paint different existing ramps, producing different works of art that will be auctioned off to help fund the campaign.
Through his foundation, Anderson has led efforts to create custom-designed ramps that are placed on single or multiple-step storefronts to increase accessibility in the city. These ramps are temporarily deployable, which gives users an option to remove them when they’re not needed.
Since the project launched about five years ago, over 800 ramps have been distributed all over the country – more than half of them in Toronto.
Anderson said the campaign isn’t just about handing out ramps to communities, but especially about educating business owners on the importance of having accessible spaces.
“We show them that without a ramp, they are missing out on a big customer base,” he said.The campaign also aims to show it’s not just people in wheelchairs who may have issues with steps, but also parents pushing strollers, people doing delivery and many others who may need accessible entryway, said Anderson.
“To not allow someone equal access to a space is actually an encroachment on our human rights,” he said.
The Ramp Up 2016 campaign kicks off Thursday at 100 Broadview, 7p.m. 

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